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‘Hawkeye’ Episode 2 Recap: ‘Tis the Season

Ho ho here we go

“Hawkeye,” the brand-new Marvel Studios series on Disney+, knew we wanted seconds this Thanksgiving, so were kind enough to give us a bonus episode this week. We’ve already done a deep dive on the first episode, which you can read here. But know it’s time to get into the further adventures of Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire

Still reeling from the bloody death of, in Kate’s words, “my mom’s fiancé’s uncle,” Barton takes her back to her shabby chic loft apartment. He’s still after his Ronin suit, which he wore on his vigilante kill rampage after the events of “Infinity War” (he was finally brought back to the light by Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson). Getting it off the streets means that it will calm the aggravation caused by Kate and her recent brush with vigilantism.

The Tracksuit Mafia, the gang of goons that were enraged by Kate’s wearing of the Ronin suit (and the ones that broke into the weird underground rich guy auction looking for a precious piece of Avengers tech), show up and toss a Molotov cocktail. Barton breaks the glass, watches the bottle come through the window, grabs it, and in a moment so iconic it’s been used in every promotion for the show since time began, throws it back at them. There are more Molotov cocktails, and Kate and Clint flee.

They take refuge in Kate’s aunt’s apartment. (She’s in Florida for the winter.) Clint leaves, going back to Kate’s place to look for the suit. But it’s gone. Still, hope is not lost: he sees an “NYC LARPers” sticker on the fire truck, and knows that one of the firefighters has taken it.

Back at Kate’s aunt’s place, Clint seems just as disgruntled (“Little girl in a ninja costume stole my Christmas”), but he tends to her wounds. She is clearly in awe. Hawkeye is her favorite Avenger and clearly her inspiration. In the morning, Clint goes back to his family, to see them off. He chats with his daughter, telling her, “Don’t lose Nate.” (Nathaniel, played by Cade Woodward, is the youngest Barton child.) Nate then signs to him, and Clint — as established in the first episode, he’s is hearing impaired and wears a hearing aid, presumably due to the massive blast that took out the Avengers Compound during the climax of “Avengers: Endgame” — signs back. This also makes Hawkeye the second deaf Marvel Studios superhero after Makkari, played by Lauren Ridloff in “Eternals.” (Keep this in mind, it’s going to come back later, we swear!)

Hawkeye walks through Times Square, and in one of the very best, most meta moments of the episode, sees a bunch of unlicensed superheroes walking around and taking photos with tourists. (In an extra-meta twist, there are Disney offices in Times Square, designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, just a few floors above the “Good Morning America” studio. Next door is one of the few remaining Disney Store locations.) At breakfast, the playful banter between Hawkeye and Kate continues. “Your problem is branding,” she tells him (rightfully). After breakfast, Hawkeye drops Kate off at her mom’s sleek office. Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) owns a security company. Hmmm…

Live, LARP, Love

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Photo: Marvel Studios

As it turns out, Jack (Tony Dalton) is there at Eleanor’s office. Kate is … taken aback. After all, his weird uncle was just murdered. He tries to offer her some advice, and gets one of the best lines of the episode (“I bought a book about being a stepdad”). Kate is even more suspicious and annoyed. Definitely annoyed. Eleanor’s office is sleek and high tech and actually calls to mind another streaming Marvel series – Carrie Ann-Moss’ law firm from the various Netflix Marvel shows (dare we speak their names?) Still, Kate’s proximity to her mom’s firm does give her access to some handy doodads, including a program that allows her to track Clint’s phone.

Speaking of Clint, he heads to Central Park. (He saw a Tik Tok of the firefighting live-action-role-player with his Ronin suit.) He asks when he can go into the area where the LARPers are hanging out. The woman behind the check-in desk tells him that he can go in when the LARP is over. Which could be hours. So he does the unthinkable. He signs up for the LARP. He gets outfitted in cheesy faux-armor, looking like a royal knight on a budget, and he gets the very best line of the episode (“I fought Thanos”). Again, it cannot be overstated how wonderful Renner is in the role and how, given more time to explore, Renner is allowed to fully inhabit the character. He gives Hawkeye such grace and depth and complexity. It also allows him to be funnier than he’s ever been in any of the mainline MCU movies. Getting this performance, and this version of Hawkeye, is such a delight.

Elsewhere, Kate gets called by the cops. They’d love to have a chat with her. She gives them the brush. They’ll be back. And they have some things to talk to her about. Eep.

Back in Central Park, Hawkeye enters combat. And by combat we mean that he gets to fight a bunch of nerds with foam swords and plastic armor in a hilarious, never-in-a-million-years-would-this-be-in-one-of-the-movies scene. All too often the comparatively limited budgets of the shows have felt like a hindrance, something to box the series and its characters in. (Who would have guessed that “Loki,” once promised as a time-hopping adventure, would wind up being a workplace comedy set in an extremely dull office building?) This sequence shows you how much “Hawkeye” exploits its limited budget and uses it for the most fun, wacky, off-the-wall idea possible.

Hawkeye defeats the nerds and wins his Ronin suit back. He has a really cute interaction with the firefighter that had the costume, and Hawkeye, a man visibly consumed with regret and guilt, is once again presented with how great civilians think he is. He calls his wife; a sweet victory chat.

Back at Eleanor’s penthouse, Jack is joining them for dinner. They are discussing their interests; she is gently prodding him about his uncomfortable love of swords. Finally, their chat turns to fencing and it is decided – they will fence. They go out into the foray of the penthouse and begin to fence. This is another example of the show’s cheapness being a feature and not a bug. The scene is intense, there’s a lot of intent behind it, and it’s emotional for Kate (and for Jack). They clearly get very heated, the match gets a little too intense, and Jack walks away. Afterwards, he offers Kate a butterscotch – it’s the same butterscotch chews from his dead uncle’s penthouse. SUSPICION INTENSIFIES.

A New Threat, Revealed

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Photo: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

But we can’t get derailed by butterscotch chews! Clint is in trouble! He is taken by the Tracksuit Mafia. They refer to a mysterious woman who wants them both (Clint and Kate, presumably). Kate calls Clint and hears something about them taking him to a warehouse. They tie up Clint and threaten him — but as he explained to his wife earlier, he’s pulling the same con on them Nat pulled on those Russians in “The Avengers.” He let them capture him so he could find out what’s actually happening. Sadly, Kate doesn’t know this, tries to rescue Clint, and ends up getting them both captured for real.

We should also pause here and probably talk about how entertaining the Tracksuit Mafia is, with their moving vans and constant “bros.” (They are, like so much of the show, deeply indebted to the “Hawkeye” comic by Matt Fraction and David Aja.) They are both comic and threatening. It’s a tightrope walk and they walk it.

Anyway, the very final shot of the episode is the apparent reveal of whoever it is the Tracksuit bros are reporting to. If you think it’s a Black Widow, that is a very good guess, especially after the post-credits sequence of “Black Widow.” We are sure that there will be some Black Widow involvement in the series, but it hasn’t happened yet. The character that is introduced, her hands hovering over giant amps, feeling the vibration of the very loud techno music, is none other than Maya Lopez, also known as Echo, played by Alaqua Cox.

Echo is a deaf indigenous superhero and in the comics, she’s the adoptive daughter of Wilson “The Kingpin” Fisk (recent social media posts by Vincent D’Onofrio, who played the character on Netflix’s “Daredevil” show, have stoked fan interest). Her superpower involves her being able to perfectly mimic other superheroes’ moves. So, yes, she could be a force to be reckoned with. But what does she want with Clint and Kate? And why is she using the Tracksuit Mafia? Find out next week.

For more on Echo, read our explainer here.